Welcome to the webbed and wired edition of R&R, aristotle. We’ll be doing the same sort of song and dance here as we do in print: reviewing the latest comics and cartoon-related books and ranting about trends and abuses and unfathomable foolishnesses. Each installment will stay here for about four weeks, with a new one coming in just about every other week or so. If you don’t have the time to ponder every punctuation mark in this deathless prose and merely want to see what might be there that would interest you, we suggest you scroll down the page looking for the bold-face type that heralds the notables who reside herein this week. So here we go with Opus 332 (and reprise each of Opus 330 and Opus 331):
Opus 332 (November 8, 2014). Most of this posting was written in October, and October is a big month in Pogo lore. I once, in feverish moment of questionable acuity, called the month Pogoctober in recognition of the months’ importance for Walt Kelly’s strip. Pogo the comic strip started in October 1948, but in Pogo’s first appearance, in Animal Comics No.1 (December 1942-January 1943), Pogo is looking at a calendar for October and declares it’s his birthday. But Pogoctober is unpronounceable, so I was quickly persuaded to give it up. Notwithstanding, this posting is full of Pogo—four new Pogo books are reviewed, three of them in copious detail.
We also report on the San Francisco “Satire Fest” convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) and on Wonder Woman’s dirty little secret, and we view some of the earliest post-Midterm Election editorial cartoons (plus some about ebola and the White House intruder), and we review reprints of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, a couple 75th anniversary books (Marvel and Batman), and a spectacular book of Puck color cartoons, and observe some comic strip landmarks in Luann, Mother Goose and Grimm, Hi and Lois, and Dick Tracy, plus reviews of comic books Men of Wrath, The October Faction, Batgirl No.35 and Detective No.35. Here’s what’s here, in order, by department—:
NOUS R US
Annual “Great Pumpkin” Show Ends in Steamy Sex
Superhero Movies Glut
Turkish Cartoonist Wins First Round
Dirty Little Secrets About Wonder Woman
EDITOONIST CONVENTION: A SATIRE FEST
Report on the San Francisco Convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC)
Some of the best editorial cartoons on—
White House Intruder
and the Meaninglessness of the Midterm Election
RANCID RAVES GALLERY
Mutt and Jeff Immortalized and Immutalized
NEWSPAPER COMICS PAGE VIGIL
Anniversaries and Celebrations
Luann’s 18th (and Surprises)
Mother Goose and Grimm’s 30th
Hi and Lois’ 60th
Metaphysical Ending for Freshly Squeezed
Dick Tracy Finds Little Orphan Annie after Five Months
Short Reviews of—
Zap Comix Reprint
Marvel 75th Anniversary Magazine
Marvel’s 75th Television Celebration
What Fools These Mortals Be: Puck Cartoons
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Complete Pogo, Volume 3
Longer Reviews of—
Walt Kelly’s Pogo: The Complete Dell Comics, Volume One
Walt Kelly: The Life and Art of the Creator of Pogo
We Go Pogo: Walt Kelly, Politics and American Satire
FUNNYBOOK FAN FARE
Men of Wrath
The October Faction
Our Motto: It takes all kinds. Live and let live.
Wear glasses if you need ’em.
But it’s hard to live by this axiom in the Age of Tea Baggers,
so we’ve added another motto:.
Seven days without comics makes one weak.
(You can’t have too many mottos.)
And our customary reminder: when you get to the $ubscriber/Associate Section (perusal of which is restricted to paid subscribers), don’t forget to activate the “Bathroom Button” by clicking on the “print friendly version” so you can print off a copy of just this installment for reading later, at your leisure while enthroned. Without further adieu, then, here we go—:
NOUS R US
Some of the News That Gives Us Fits
Before this year’s October 30 airing of the Peanuts Hallowe’en special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” had stopped glowing on the tv tube, viewers—including all those eager-eyed moppets whose parents thought they’d treat their offspring to a nice kids program—found themselves confronted by the opening scene in “Scandal” in which Olivia Pope having a very explicit dream, reports Emily Yahr at the Washington Post — “reminiscing about sleeping with President Fitz (along with the other guy in her love triangle, Jake). It’s all set to ‘Summer Breeze,’ and there are glimpses of lots of bare skin.”
The watchdog group Parents Television Council understandably went ballistic, unleashing an angry statement at ABC condemning the abrupt shift in kid-centric programming to eroticism. “After all, families are known to gather around the cartoon every year and may not have anticipated that they needed to quickly change the channel. Shame on ABC for putting a peep show next to a playground,” PTC President Tim Winter said.
SUPERHERO MOVIES GLUTTING UP
From Brooks Barnes at the New York Times: On October 28, Marvel Entertainment announced a lineup of nine new movies that will reach theaters between now and mid-2019. The coming attractions include an entire films devoted to a female character, Captain Marvel, and to an African superhero, the Black Panther.
After revealing the roster of films, that includes a two-part “Avengers: Infinity War,” Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, told a packed El Capitan Theater here, “As you can see, we have a hell of a lot of work to do.”
Shares of Marvel’s owner, the Walt Disney Company, promptly climbed 2 percent, closing at $89.93. Investors like long-term film-franchise building because it greatly lessens the risk of fluctuations in studio financial results.
Marvel’s announcement came two weeks after DC Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros., unveiled its own roster of nine new superhero films (with single films for Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern). Add the Marvel and DC slates to plans by other studios to keep mining the comic book genre, and Hollywood is on track to deliver 29 superhero movies in the next six years.
Can the marketplace absorb the glut? Some media analysts warn that superhero fatigue is already setting in, but Feige brushed aside concerns. “If the movies deliver in terms of quality, they will succeed,” he said.
The new Marvel movies for 2016 are “Doctor Strange,” which is expected to star Benedict Cumberbatch, and “Captain America: Civil War,” which will co-star Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and introduce Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther. Following, in 2017, will be “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Panther.” In 2018, Marvel will release the first of the two “Avengers: Infinity War” movies; “Captain Marvel,” based around a not-yet-cast superheroine named Carol Danvers, who has cosmic powers; and “Inhumans,” a film that Feige said would introduce “tons” of new characters and is envisioned as “a franchise and perhaps a series of franchises.”
Feige said a version of this splashy announcement event — taking the stage were Downey, Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, and Mr. Boseman — was supposed to have happened at Comic-Con International in July. But Marvel decided to wait in part to see how audiences responded to the unknown characters in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which arrived in August. It now ranks as the year’s No.1 domestic movie.
TURKISH CARTOONIST WINS FIRST ROUND
From Milana Knezevic at indexoncensorship.org: Last time (Op.331), we reported that Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart went to trial October 23, facing the prospect of spending nine years behind bars, simply for doing his job—which, in this case, involved making a critical (alleging criminal conduct) caricature of Turkey’s President (and former Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan that was “insulting and slanderous.” Commenting on Erdogan’s alleged hand in covering up a high-profile corruption scandal, the cartoon depicted him as a hologram keeping a watchful eye over a robbery.
Almost at once, Kart was acquitted, due in no small part to the swift reaction from colleagues around the world who gave Kart’s situation international headlines. “In the online #erdogancaricature campaign initiated by British cartoonist Martin Rowson, his fellow artists shared their own drawings of the president. With Erdogan reimagined as everything from a balloon to a crying baby to Frankenstein’s monster, the show of solidarity soon went viral.”
“This campaign has showed me once again that I m a member of world cartoonists family. I am deeply moved and honoured by their support,” Kart told Index in an email. The rest of the Index article follows in italic):
Kart has been battling the criminal charges since February. His defiance was clear for all to see when he told the court on Thursday [perhaps October 30; it’s not clear in the Internet dispatch] that “I think that we are inside a cartoon right now,” referring to the fact that he was in the suspect’s seat while charges against people involved in the graft scandal had been dropped.
He remains defiant today: “Erdogan would have either let an independent judiciary process to be cleared or repressed his opponents. He chose the second way,” Kart said. “It’s a well known fact that Erdogan is trying to repress and isolate the opponents by reshaping the laws and the judiciary and by countless prosecutions and libel suits against journalists.”
This isn’t the first time Kart has run into trouble with Erdogan. Back in 2005, he was fined 5,000 Turkish lira for drawing the then-prime minister as a cat entangled in yarn. The cartoon represented the controversy that surrounded Turkey’s highest administrative court rejecting new legislation that Erdogan had campaigned on.
“I have always believed that cartoon humour is a very unique and effective way to express our ideas and to reach people and it contributes to a better and more tolerant world,” Kart explained when questioned on where he finds the strength to keep going.
It remains unclear whether the story ends with this latest acquittal decision. While the charges against Kart were dropped earlier this year, an appeal from Erdogan saw the case reopened.
“Erdogan’s lawyers will…take the case to the upper court,” Kart said.
Kart’s experience is far from unique; free expression is a thorny issues in Erdogan’s Turkey. In the past year alone, authorities temporarily banned Twitter and YouTube and introduced controversial internet legislation. Meanwhile journalists, like the Economist’s Amberin Zaman, have been continuously targeted.
DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS
About Clean Living and the Wonders of Woman Power
Jill Lapore, a writer who sometimes appears in The New Yorker, has written a book with the seductive title The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Melissa Maerz, a writer who appears, in this case, in Entertainment Weekly, reviews the book in the October 24 issue. She thinks the book is “a great read. It has nearly everything you might want in a page-turner: tales of S&M, skeletons in the closet, a believe-it-or-not weirdness in its biographical details, and something else that secretly powers even the most ‘serious’ feminist history—fun.” But there’s a sneaky element of snark in parts of Maerz’s review.
William Moulton Marston, the creator of WW, had a secret life that he never revealed to the public. “Lepore,” says Maerz, “is particularly savvy at pointing out Marston’s contradictions. He invented the lie detector test but was also a liar who claimed that his girlfriend, Olive Byrne, was a blood relative. He considered women to be mentally stronger than men but insisted that they’re happiest when they’re submissive. (There’s the reason Wonder Woman always gets tied up: Marston had a thing for bondage.) His comics showed her calling for her mortal sisters to fight off their male oppressors, but in his more scholarly publications, he may have taken credit for research conducted by his wife, Elizabeth Holloway.
“After he forced his wife to let his mistress move in with them,” Maerz goes on, “Holloway passed off the child rearing to Byrne and forged a career as a lecturer [on feminist issues mostly] and editor at a time when women were discouraged from working.”
Well, not quite.
Lapore got her innings in The New Yorker’s September 22 issue, where she provides a condensed version of the book, or, at least, some of the juiciest bits of it.
Wonder Woman, Lapore asserts, has a backstory that “is taken from feminist utopian fiction,” and she was inspired by Margaret Sanger, a crusading feminist and birth control advocate who opened the first birth control clinic in 1916 and who, “hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”
Marston married Holloway in 1915 and, while teaching at Tufts in 1925, met and fell in love with a student, Olive Byrne, daughter of Ethel Byrne who, coincidentally, was Sanger’s sister (and another feminist). Marston, Holloway and Byrne began attending an avant garde sexual “clinic” at the Boston apartment of Marston’s aunt, where they learned about “Love Units” formed by a Love Leader, a Mistress, and a Love Girl. (Sexual adventurousness was apparently a family trait: Olive’s uncles were female impersonators on the vaudeville circuit.)
In 1926, Byrne, then 22, moved in with Marston and Holloway, and they lived as a threesome, “with love making for all” as Holloway put it. Four children were born of this array, two by Holloway and two by Byrne.
But Holloway was scarcely “forced,” as Maerz has it, to accept Byrne into the household. For Holloway, Lapore writes, “the arrangement solved what, in the era of the New Woman, was known as the ‘woman’s dilemma’: hardly a magazine was sold, in those years, that didn’t feature an article that asked, ‘Can a Woman Run a Home and a Job, Too?’ ... The question is no longer should women combine marriage with careers, but how? Here’s how,” Lapore continues: “Marston would have two wives. Holloway could have her career. Byrne would raise the children. No one else need ever know.” The three assiduously kept their domestic arrangement a secret.
The two women were apparently not only friends but colleagues in feminist enterprises. After Marston’s death in 1947, “they lived together for the rest of their lives. In the fifties and sixties, they often stayed in Tucson, taking care of Sanger. Byrne worked as Sanger’s secretary.”
In 1937, the year the American Medical Association finally endorsed contraception, Marston, who was mostly unemployed through the decade (and even when employed, it was never for very long at any of the universities he taught at), held a press conference, Lapore reports, at which “he predicted that women would one day rule the world.” His prediction made headlines all across the country.
In 1940, M.C. Gaines, whose DC comics published Superman, Batman and a host of other colorfully costumed superheroes, read an article by Olive Byrne in Family Circle magazine, wherein Byrne reported that, contrary to some popular criticism of the day, Marston found comic book superheroes “pure wish fulfillment” of the most beneficial sort. Gaines soon hired Marston as a consultant, and Marston convinced him of the need for a female superhero. Enter Wonder Woman.
“Drawn by an artist named Harry G. Peter, who, in the nineteen-tens, had drawn suffrage cartoons, Wonder Woman looked like a pinup girl. She’s Eleanor Roosevelt; she’s Betty Grable. Mostly, she’s Margaret Sanger.”
And, possibly, Olive Byrne.
Saith Lapore: “In 1974, when a Ph.D student asked Holloway about Wonder Woman’s bracelets, Holloway replied: ‘A student of Dr. Marston’s wore on each wrist heavy, broad silver bracelets, one African and the other Mexican. They attracted his attention as symbols of love binding so that he adopted them for Wonder Woman.’ The bracelets were Olive Byrne’s. Olive Byrne had at that point been living with Holloway for 48 years.”
WW’s costume didn’t last even that long before various tinkerers began tinkering. And I reacted as you can see on the other side of the $ubscribers Wall. ... Once over the Wall, You’ll See Four New Pogo Books Reviewed (Some in Copious if not Needlessly Cruel Detail), and You’ll Have Our Report on AAEC’s San Francisco “Satire Fest,, plus Views of Some of the Earliest Post-Midterm Election Editorial Cartoons (And Some about Ebola and the White House Intruder), and We Also Review Reprints of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, a Couple 75th Anniversary Books (Marvel and Batman), and a Spectacular Book of Puck Color Cartoons, and Observe Some Comic Strip Landmarks in Luann, Mother Goose and Grimm, Hi and Lois, and Dick Tracy, plus Reviews of Comic Books Men of Wrath, the October Faction, Batgirl No.35 and Detective No.35. To Get There, Click Here if you are a member. If not...
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